I still remember that first Christmas after Gene passed away. I wasn’t even able to refer to myself as a widow yet. I was just a wife in waiting. But I didn’t even know what I was waiting for.
I have to admit that I remember very little about the second Christmas. Or the third. Or the fourth.
Somewhere around the 10th, I started realizing that my life had shifted. I was now a widow with a reason to live. By the time the 11th came and went, God was showing me more and more about why I’m still here.
I’m here to minister to and care for widows.
In that spirit, here’s my message of encouragement for you as you are facing Christmas this year.
Tip no. 1 for surviving Christmas: Give love above all other gifts. No matter who you’re giving to.
Tip no. 2: Value people beyond dollar signs. Show them how much you value them. Even if they’re hundreds of miles away. Even if you’ve been out of touch for a while.
Tip no. 3: Volunteer. Reach out. Help others. Serve a meal. Surprise a server or public servant or pastor with your generosity. Care for the homeless at a shelter.
Tip no. 4: If you’re at a holiday party and start feeling overwhelmed, thank your host and leave. Don’t force yourself to stay when you’re miserable.
Tip no. 5: Give a meaningful, thoughtful gift to someone who isn’t expecting a gift from you. Maybe even something you make or have made. Both of you will be blessed.
Tip no. 6: Sing your favorite Christmas songs aloud in your car or in your home. Sing really loud! You’ll be surprised by how many words you remember.
Tip no. 7: Visit Santa Claus. Not for yourself, but to watch young children interact with Santa. Guaranteed to make you smile at least once.
Tip no. 8: Watch your favorite classic Christmas movies (other than on the Hallmark Channel). It’s okay to say the lines with the actors and sing the songs really loud, too!
Tip no. 9: Don’t wallow in the past. Don’t dread the future. Don’t miss the gift of the present. Dive into God’s Word. Isaiah. Matthew. Luke. John.
Tip no. 10: Make the best of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Even if those days are far from perfect for you. Then move on.
Merry Christmas to you! Emphasis on the merry. I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you.
Laura Warfel is a widow, writer, and follower of Jesus Christ. Her greatest joy is to bring others along with her on her faith journey. In 2015, because of the encouragement of the Launch Out Conference and Jon Acuff, she launched More Than A Widow on Facebook and Twitter. Today she blogs, tweets, and posts to help widows (and those who know them) find encouragement, hope, and resources for the journey. Her goal is to help all widows live beyond the label and live as more than a widow.
Copyright © 2018 by Laura Warfel